The House of Commons better brace itself. Many of the brightest minds at London Oratory have opted to study politics at uni after the school in Seagrave Road, Fulham, produced another crop of A level students with outstanding grades.
“I got A* in Geography, A in History, A in Politics and A in English,” said a delighted Miranda Smith, who admitted that doing four subjects had entailed “a lot of essays”.
She had done Politics at AS level, so faced with the choice of doing three or four A levels she decided: “I’ll just go for it!”
Miranda said that the new A level format, introduced this year, had been tough because she’d had to sit more than a dozen exams in all. Under the old system it would have been six.
“But you do get more of a ‘whole’ understanding of the subject, so I do think it’s a good way of doing it,” she said.
She is now bound for Edinburgh, where she will study politics.
“Why Edinburgh? Well, when I visited it, it was the only city that I felt I could actually live in. It’s beautiful, and I really felt comfortable there,” she said.
Her first day at Edinburgh University coincides with her 19th birthday.
Meanwhile, Miranda’s best mate Hannah Walsh, 18, was celebrating an A in History, A in Philosophy and B in Politics.
“I’m going to Leeds to study Politics,” said Hannah. “I’ve loved my time at Oratory; before the sixth form I went to an all-girls’ school in Croydon. It’s stricter here [at London Oratory], so I worked harder… but I also had a good time.”
For Carlo Caruso, 18, the sheet of paper in the sealed envelope revealed that he’d achieved A* in History, then straight As in English Lit, Economics and Italian.
What possessed him to take four A levels? “My parents!”
Actually, having Italian parents meant he was brought up learning the language, so that particular A level was a relative shoo-in.
Durham University had already offered the lifelong Chelsea supporter a place to study History, if he achieved an A* and A… so the 180-year-old institution, recently judged to offer the best-quality student life in the country, confirmed he can start in the first week of October.
“I’ve always liked reading history,” said Carlo. “I love studying what shapes society.”
For now, Carlo plans a relaxing few weeks in which he can look back on his time at London Oratory. “I know it’s very clichéd, but I really did love every minute here,” he said. “The teachers are great, and while it may be strict, it’s definitely not stifling.”
Winning the raffle
Sean Bird, 18, gained A* in French, A* in Maths and A in History.
He will now go to Bath University to study French. Why Bath? “Oh, I’ve been asked that so many times! Bath’s quite sporty; the football facilities are ludicrously good,” he said.
So the Wolves fan will be able to continue football at college level as well as studying a subject he has really grown to love.
“It was good for French [at London Oratory]; there was quite a small class, good teaching and a pleasant atmosphere,” he said.
Yet another Oratory star is Stephen Carter, 18, who has landed a place at Cambridge to study linguistics after gaining an A* in English Lit, A in History and A in Maths.
“I was originally thinking of doing English,” said Stephen. “And I looked at different places to go to university, but then I applied to Cambridge to do linguistics – if you don’t buy a ticket, you won’t win the raffle!
A positive experience
For Paul Obanya, 18, the seven years at London Oratory have turned his life around and have been a truly positive experience.
He achieved an A in History, a B in Religious Studies and a B in politics, and will now go to Liverpool University to study law.
Gary Howells, acting deputy head at London Oratory, said the school was really pleased with the students' results. "For pupils and staff, major changes in syllabuses in a number of subjects presented challenges," he said. "It's a tribute to the ability, ambition and strong work ethic of the whole school community that the results have been so strong.
"Many of our pupils are looking forward to starting courses at leading universities. They have been a committed and engaging year group and we wish them well in their futures."